These movies arrive on video store shelves this week.

LAKE PLACID

(R, 1999, 82 minutes, Fox)

Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt and Brendan Gleeson go slumming in this throwaway summer thriller about a 30-foot crocodile run amok in the deep Maine woods. Never mind how this tropical reptile got so far north. That little plot anomaly is only as troubling as the enervated performances phoned in by the normally talented cast, the wannabe witty dialogue by "Ally McBeal" perpetrator David E. Kelley and the cheesy on-screen gore recycled from the "Jaws" franchise and its ilk. As a dithering and sweetly foul-mouthed farmer's wife, Betty White is the film's best -- and only -- asset. Contains obscenity and an assortment of game wardens, sheriff's deputies and wildlife turned into chum.

-- Michael O'Sullivan

MYSTERY MEN

(PG-13, 1999, 122 minutes, Universal)

An uproariously funny Paul "Pee-wee Herman" Reubens and the ever-astringent Janeane Garofalo rescue a foundering superhero comedy and carry it to goofy victory. As the Spleen and the Bowler, they join Mr. Furious (a tantrum-throwing Ben Stiller), the Shoveler (a spade-wielding William H. Macy), the Blue Raja (a turbaned, Brit-accented Hank Azaria, armed with forks and spoons) and others to save their city from arch-villain Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). Once the team is assembled, "Mystery Men" kicks into high gear, with a sassy fusion of the sharp and the stupid from writer Neil Cuthbert. The best part may be the superhero tryouts featuring such aspiring candidates as Pencilhead, Son of Pencilhead ("We erase crime!") and my personal favorite, the PMS Avenger ("I only work four days a month. Do you have a problem with that?"). Contains mildly bad words, bathroom humor, sexual innuendo and cartoon violence.

-- Michael O'Sullivan